During Lent, the time from Ash Wednesday to the Saturday before Easter, Christians often retrace the events leading up to Christ’s crucifixion by following the Stations of the Cross. Stations of the Cross are a series of fourteen devotions that depict Christ’s last day. Stations of the Cross are commonly found in Catholic churches but can also be set in larger outdoor spaces, oftentimes at Shrines. Following the path of the Stations of the Cross is a prayerful and meditative experience. I have visited three Midwest shrines in the past few years that include outdoor Stations of the Cross and have written about them previously. Here is a summary and links to the original articles.
A pilgrimage is described differently depending on who you ask. Some say it is any journey to a religious place; some add it must be a long journey. Others describe it as visiting a sacred place with the purpose of reflection and prayer. I recently visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin, by today’s travel standards a far cry from a long journey coming from Illinois. I didn’t originally consider myself on a pilgrimage, but by definition, that’s exactly what it was, for in the serene wooded surroundings devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe, I found myself in deep reflection and devotion. Read more